All About Mushrooms

variety of mushrooms

Lots to Love

There are so many types of mushrooms — at least 14,000 — though only about half are OK to eat. But almost all the mushrooms we eat in the U.S. are the white button variety. Why not branch out? Other common types include cremini, portabella, maitake (also called hen of the woods), shiitake, enoki, and oyster. Each has its own unique shape, flavor, and texture.

packaged mushrooms

Nutrient Powerhouses

If you’re looking for an all-natural multivitamin, skip the supplement aisle and pick up some mushrooms. Among their many nutrients: B vitamins — including pantothenic acid (B5), niacin (B3), and riboflavin (B2) — plus copper and selenium. Mushrooms also have protein, fiber, potassium, vitamin D, calcium, and more. Not bad for a food that’s more than 90% water.

cholesterol test

Other Health Benefits

Mushrooms may do a lot more for your health than fuel your body. They have antibacterial properties. They can help lower cholesterol. They’re good for your immune system. They may even help prevent or treat Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. 

portabella mushrooms

Potassium-Rich Portabellas

It’s important for your heart, muscles, and nerves. When you think of foods that have a lot of it, bananas or potatoes might come to mind. But mushrooms are right up there in potassium content. For example: two-thirds of a cup of grilled, sliced portabellas — large mushrooms with smooth brown or tan caps — has as much potassium as a medium banana.

porcini mushrooms

Porcinis’ Antioxidant Power

You’ve been hearing for years that fruits and veggies are high in antioxidants. Mushrooms are the highest food source of two: ergothioneine and glutathione. Porcini mushrooms are packed with these antioxidants, which may have anti-aging powers. Researchers think that in the future, ergothioneine and glutathione may be studied in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

mushroom powder

Medicinal Mushrooms

These aren’t specific types. The term is often used to describe mushroom powders, supplements, or extracts used for health purposes. These aren’t “medicines” a doctor would prescribe. The research is still too early for that. But the findings so far on mushrooms as medicine are promising.

sauteed mushrooms

Simply Saute

Saute sliced mushrooms in butter, olive oil, and chicken stock until they’re tender, about 15 minutes. Any ‘shrooms will do, but a portabella/white mix is nice. Try add-ons like garlic and shallots.


Source: All About Mushrooms >